.300 Wby. Mag Vs. .375 H&H: What's the Best Elk Cartridge?

best elk cartridge

.300 Weatherby Magnum

If I had to choose one species — and only one — to hunt the rest of my life, it would be elk. If I had to choose only one cartridge — heaven forbid — to hunt elk with, it would be the .300 Weatherby Magnum.


Why? Simple: It's the best for the job. Or at least, there are none better.


Now, that's a pretty strong statement, but I can support it. With handloads or genuine Weatherby ammo, it runs neck and neck with the .300 Ultra Mag, but burns less powder and produces less recoil.


Modernists scoff at the double radius shoulder, but it feeds more smoothly than today's fat, angular magnums. Many reloaders believe the double radius also minimizes brass flow and case stretch, resulting in longer case life.

Plus, it's got more panache than Sinatra.

Many current rifles chambered in .300 Ultra Mag, .300 WSM, and other short fats resist accepting more than two cartridges in the magazine — but the .300 Wby. fits three like sophisticated sardines and feeds them out just as slick.


Ballistically, the .300 Wby. need bow to none: 180-grain bullets exit the muzzle at 3,200 fps or more and carry over 4,000 ft.-lbs. of energy.

With aerodynamic projectiles, it's a legitimate extreme-range cartridge, and with tough bonded or monolithic bullets, it's authoritative, mighty authoritative, up close.

My personal favorite bullets for handloading the .300 Wby. are Swift's 180-grain Scirocco II and Nosler's 200-grain AccuBond, both of which offer admirably high B.C.s and tough, bonded-core construction.


The Scirocco II, which invariably shoots sub-inch groups from my rifle, shoots fast enough that it makes sense to sight-in at 250 yards. Drop at 300 yards is less than three inches, at 400 yards it's less than a foot, and at 500 yards the Scirocco II drops just a shade over 26 inches.

The .300 Wby. shoots flat and accurately, hits extremely hard,and has class. What more could one ask of an elk cartridge?

— Joseph von Benedikt

.375 H&H Ackley Improved

I'll admit the .300 Weatherby Magnum is a fine elk cartridge, but is it the best elk cartridge? Well, that depends'¦

I get it. Sleek .30-caliber bullets fly through the air like greased needles. If I was inclined to be a long-range hunter, the .300 Wby. would be a great choice. But I am not so inclined.

I had long-range hunting fantasies when I was about 18 — before I actually had much field experience. It didn't take me long to realize that the vast majority of animals could be closed to within a couple of football fields with a little effort.

I learned that for every cagey bull that went over the ridge at 500 yards, there were a half-dozen bulls running through the dark timber, presenting only bullet-destroying, close quartering-away shots.

Take that shot with a fast-stepping .30 and all you will have is a destroyed rear quarter and a long trailing job (that may not result in a recovered elk).

So what do I use?

My current favorite elk cartridge is a .375 H&H Ackley Improved. Sounds exotic, doesn't it? It isn't — but it is extremely versatile. Essentially, it is a .375 H&H with a straighter case and a 40-degree shoulder for increased powder capacity.

What's great about this chambering is that it will still digest factory .375 H&H as well as .375 Weatherby ammo. As for recoil, even out of my sub-six-pound MG Arms Ultra-Light, it is a mild push instead of a sharp crack like the .300 Wby., and it prints half-MOA groups all day long.

It pushes a 300-grain Nosler Partition between 2,650 and 2,750 fps and delivers 5,000 ft.-lbs. of energy. For the folks wanting flatter trajectories, it will push a 260-grain Nosler AccuBond with a B.C. of .473 over 2,800 fps.

It will penetrate deeper than a .300 Wby. with far less meat waste up close on tough quartering shots. It will drop only 16 inches at 400 yards when zeroed at 250 yards, making it an ideal gun for the timber as well as from ridge to ridge.

— Mike Schoby

best elk cartridge

Recommended for You

We put the best boots for late-season hunting to the test. Here are the results. Clothing

Field Tested: Cold-Weather Boots

Kali Parmley - April 22, 2019

We put the best boots for late-season hunting to the test. Here are the results.

Pass on your passion and make hunting fun for children with these tips! How-To

How to Make Hunting Fun for Kids

Jeff Johnston

Pass on your passion and make hunting fun for children with these tips!

The most modern ammo and gear increase the odds of bagging a tricky tom this spring. Other Game

Today's Updated Turkey Hunting Gear

Joe Arterburn

The most modern ammo and gear increase the odds of bagging a tricky tom this spring.

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

2018 Petersen

2018 Petersen's Hunting Episode 8: Midnight Sun Grizzlies

Kevin Steele and CZ-USA's Jason Morton return to Alaska's arctic tundra for Kevin's second and Jason's third attempt on the legendary species. Things are looking up on day one but time will tell if the boys will get a shot a the king of the tundra.

Cheeseburger Poppers

Cheeseburger Poppers

David Draper shares his recipe for making delicious cheeseburger poppers with wild game in this edition of "Fare Game."

2018 Petersen

2018 Petersen's Hunting Episode 9: Aloha Axis Deer

Host Mike Schoby joins his buddies Jon Dubin and Jeff Johnston on the island of Lanai for a deer hunt Hawaiian style!

See more Popular Videos

Trending Stories

Didn't draw? Here are five great places you can make a last-minute mule deer hunt. North America

5 Great Last-Minute Public-land Hunts

Joseph von Benedikt

Didn't draw? Here are five great places you can make a last-minute mule deer hunt.

Many of the states in our glorious nation provide great hunting, but only a few have the whitetail North America

Top 10 Trophy Whitetail States

Joseph von Benedikt - December 18, 2017

Many of the states in our glorious nation provide great hunting, but only a few have the...

We evaluate the 6.5 in a real-life case study. Ammo

Is The 6.5 The Perfect Hunting Caliber?

Mike Schoby

We evaluate the 6.5 in a real-life case study.

See More Stories

More Ammo

I hate to begin an article by apologizing. So, I won't. If you're of sensitive nature and Ammo

Top Big-Game Cartridges

Joseph von Benedikt - December 06, 2017

I hate to begin an article by apologizing. So, I won't. If you're of sensitive nature and

With new loads like Federal Premium's Heavyweight TSS in #9 shot, the right .410 shotgun can Ammo

Old School .410 Bore Shotgun Offers New Spring Turkey Hunting Options

PH Online Editors - February 21, 2018

With new loads like Federal Premium's Heavyweight TSS in #9 shot, the right .410 shotgun can

We have had many new cartridge designs in the last three decades, from the revival if the .416-inch Ammo

4 Lost Classic Hunting Rifle Cartridges

Phil Massaro - August 21, 2018

We have had many new cartridge designs in the last three decades, from the revival if the...

See More Ammo

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save.

Temporary Price Reduction.

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.